10 Tips for College Students going to school in big cities

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Urban Traveler

The thought of getting away from the local mundane or the thought of going away from your small town and studying at a college at a large urban city, are thoughts that many of us have. These ideas that excite us and make us dream big and shoot for the stars are often squashed if not thought out and well planned. 

Effectively planning and researching how your going to get from point A to B can seem daunting but will better prepare you for the new culture a big city offers. Our big goals and dreams can still be exciting but only if we properly prepare and plan. One of the biggest obstacles is transportation. How will you get to school, work, grocery store, drug store etc? Most large cities can be expensive to own and park a car and taking the city bus or train can be a more affordable option. Once again planning is key as this cost needs to be budgeted for. 


Here are a few tips that will help guide you in traveling and to better enjoy your destination with a few less hurdles. 



Research your destination city. Find the mode of public transportation whether bus, subway or train. This also includes exploring the associated costs. 


#2. Find maps for public transportation and start looking for your route and connections. Plan out where the attractions are located and map out routes that are sensible and cost effective. You will waste time by zigzagging across a city. 


#3. Do the public transit authorities have phone apps to assist you. If not download picture of maps and stations so you can always find your way around. 


#4. Research schedule and verify times. Find out how often the train or busses run and when the last train, bus runs. 


#5. Research when peak travel times are and the cost associated with that. Look for specials on metro cards and if you can travel at off peak times. Peak times means rush hour traffic and will cost more to travel during those times. 


#6 Pay attention to announcements on platforms or stations. Be present and not on phone. Times and platforms can change. 


#7 Be mindful of what track, platform etc you need to be on. You will miss a bus or train if not on the right side of the train track. It’s important to know whether or not your heading East or West and North and South. 


#8. Some city trains have quiet cars for commuters who have long commutes and use this time to study, read or sleep. Be mindful of these cars and passengers. 


#9. You can bring drinks and food on buses and trains but be mindful that your food doesn’t leave a mess or pungent smell that will cause other passengers to suffer through a long ride. Think of burning popcorn smell that lingers for hours. 


#10. When traveling alone be aware of your surroundings and people around you. Most people will be helpful but utilize the official workers if you have questions or concerns. Researching the city will help you avoid sketchy areas. Watch your bags and pockets, try to carry a bag or crossbody that stays close to the body. 

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Allow plenty of time to get to your destination. Allow time for missing a train or bus connections and unexpected delays. 


What seems like a short trip on a map doesn’t necessary equate to a short ride. Many buses and trains make multiple stops and add time to your travel while finding express trains can shorten it. 


With every trip there will be pitfalls and minor inconveniences. Below were just a few that were experienced on a recent trip to New York City and Long Island. While they are comical these are just a few things that can happen to anyone anywhere. 



Uber driver that is angry and not willing to be helpful and takes you to the wrong side of train station. 

Missing your train due to #1. 

No bathrooms at small stations and not enough time at the hubs to go to the restroom due to trying to avoid pitfall #2. 

Not bringing a large purse that can carry snacks because you want to travel light and not worry about getting purse snatched, pick pocketed etc. 

Track maintenance and station closures not publicized on website that you learn of while being on the platform or train and missing your stop. Then having to keep changing trains because none other go all the way to the last stop. 


Traveling to big cities around the world offer life changing world views, precious memories and new appreciation for cultures, food and art but can be marred by the mode of travel of getting there. 


Betsy Morris

Imagine College Coaching


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